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Paperback 496 pp.
75 photos, 12 figures, 2 maps, 8" x 10"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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An Introduction, Second Edition

George A. MacLean and Duncan R. Wood

Guiding students through the basics of political ideologies and institutions before moving on to more complex concepts, this text is a comprehensive yet accessible introduction to political studies. Emphasizing Canadian content while maintaining a global perspective throughout, the text ties theory to practice using case studies and current examples from Canada and around the world.

Readership : A core text for first-year introduction to politics courses offered out of political science departments in universities and general social science programs in colleges.


  • "This textbook is a welcome addition. The authors are on the cutting edge of what is going on in the study of politics."
    --Terry L. Chapman, Medicine Hat College

1. Studying Politics
Why Study Politics?
What Is Politics?
Approaches Used in the Study of Politics
Politics and Our Everyday Lives
Division and Connection in a Changing World
Domestic and International Politics
Citizens and Canada
2. Finding a Common Vocabulary: Political Concepts
Political Organization
Political Action
3. Political Thought, Philosophy, and Ideology
What Is Political Philosophy?
The History of Political Thought
Liberal Thought
Other Systems of Thought
- Conservatism
- Feminism
- Environmentalism
- Fascism
- Anarchism
- Political Islam
- Confucian Political Thought
The Relevance of Ideas
4. The Role of Government
What Do Governments Do?
Some Shared Objectives of Government
Some Activities of Government
Schools of Thought Regarding the Role of Government
Forms of Political Systems
Liberal Democracy
Government and Canada
5. Branches of Government
Institutions of Government
The Executive
The Legislature
- Legislative Structures
- Legislative Functions
The Judiciary
- Constitutionality Ruling
- Judicial Legal Interpretation
- Judicial Dispute Adjudication
The Bureaucracy
Presidential and Parliamentary Systems
Institutions of Government
Government in Canada
- Canadian Federalism
- Canadian Courts and the Constitution
- The Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Individual Citizens
- Canadian Law
6. Political Systems
Distributing Power within the State: To Centralize or Share?
Unitary Systems
Federal Systems
Canadian Federalism: An Evolving History
- The Division of Powers
- The Evolution of Canadian Federalism
- Quebec and Canadian Federalism
7. Political Participation: Elections and Parties
Democracy and Voting
Types of Electoral Systems
Political Parties
Election Campaigns
Campaign Financing
Direct Democracy and the Referendum
Elections and Political Parties in Canada
8. Political Socialization and Culture
Political Culture
Political Socialization
Public Opinion
The Media and Politics
Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations
The Participation of Private Actors in the Decision-Making Process
Policy Communities
Interest Groups
Canadian Political Culture and Socialization
9. Politics in Developed States
What Are Developed States?
A Brief PostWar History of the "Developed World"
Post-Industrialization and Political Authority
- Canada
- The United States
- Japan
- The European Union
10. Politics in Developing States
Political and Social Development
Economic Development
The Link between Political and Economic Development
Population Growth
The Role of International Organizations
China: The Politics of an Emerging Global Power
China's Political System
- Chinese History: The Heritage of Imperialism and Revolution
- The Origins of Modern China
- Chinese Economic Reform
- Future Challenges for China
Mexico: The Challenges of Democratization
- History
- Mexico's Political System
- The Mexican Presidency
- The Mexican Congress
- Elections in Mexico
- The Mexican Economy
- Economic Liberalisation and Openness
- Organized Crime, Drugs, and Public Security
- The Future of Mexico
India: Politics and Development in the World's Largest Democracy
- History
- India's Political System
- Indian Development
- The Future of India
- The History of Mali: From Empire to Independence
- The People of Mali
- The Political System
- The Future of Mali
11. International Politics and Foreign Policy
International Politics, International Relations, Foreign Policy, and the State
The International System
Actors in World Politics
Competing Approaches to International Politics
Process and Cooperation: The Liberal Approach
Rejecting Realism: The Marxist Approach
Perception and Politics
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
- Geography
- Natural Resources
- Population
- Technological Development
- Internal Political Structures and Processes
Canada and the World
12. International Security
Security and Insecurity
War in International Relations
Humanitarian Interventionism
Peacekeeping, Conflict Management, and Resolution
Canada in Afghanistan
13. International Political Economy
What Is IPE?
The Perspectives of IPE
Economic Interdependence
International Economic Co-Operation
The World Trading System
- The Growth of Trade Since 1846
- The GATT
- The WTO
- Present and Future Challenges for Trade
The International System of Money and Finance
- The Bretton Woods System
- The Latin American Debt Crisis
- The New International Finance and the Crises of the Late 1990s
- The Global Financial Crisis 2008
Economic Regionalism
Oil and Oil Prices
Multinational Corporations
14. Conclusion
What Have We Learned?
Where Do We Go from Here?
Note: Each chapter includes:
- Introduction
- Learning Objectives
- Conclusion
- Self-Assessment Questions
- Web Links
- Further Reading

Instructor's Manual:
For each chapter:
Chapter overview
Learning objectives
Key terms and definitions
3-5 class discussion questions
2-3 debate questions
2 in-class activities
List of teaching aids (films, websites, further readings)
PowerPoint slides:
For each chapter:
25-40 lecture outline slides
Test Generator:
For each chapter:
35 multiple-choice questions
10 true-or-false questions
8-10 short answer questions
Student Study Guide:
For each chapter:
Chapter outline
Learning objectives
Key concepts and definitions
Web links
List of further readings
Links to videos and MP3 clips
Author podcasts (mini lectures on key topics)
Self-testing quizzes
- Multiple-choice questions
- True-or-false questions
- Short answer questions
- Essay questions
E-Book (ISBN 9780199001071)

George MacLean is professor in the Department of Political Studies and associate dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Manitoba.

Duncan Wood is director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He is also full professor at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City.

Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese
Introduction to Politics - Robert Garner, Peter Ferdinand, Stephanie Lawson and David B. MacDonald

Special Features

  • Canadian references and examples throughout encourage students to think critically about the nature of politics in a Canadian context.
  • Offers global context by examining the nature of the international system, the complicated issues of global insecurity, and the dynamics of international political economy, giving students a well-rounded introduction to politics.
  • Current and relevant examples - such as the Quebec student protests, the Occupy movement, and the 2012 Mexican election - connect theory to practice and illustrate key concepts.
  • Country case studies examine politics in a comparative context, considering "development" and "underdevelopment" in the world today.
  • Encourages political involvement - particularly in the concluding chapter - connecting students' lives to the text and highlighting their potential for political participation.
  • Gradually builds understanding by introducing students to foundational concepts and ideologies before delving into more complex topics.
  • Written in a clear, engaging style, making difficult concepts accessible to undergraduate students.
  • Dynamic full-colour format uses a visually appealing layout to help students navigate the content.
  • MP3 clips and podcasts indicated by icons in each chapter help students connect theories and ideologies to real-world events.
New to this Edition
  • Expanded discussion of international relations - covering topics such as political globalization, foreign policy, and competing approaches to international politics - helps students situate Canada's place in the world.
  • Up-to-date data, research, and analysis of recent court rulings and election results ensures students have the most current resource available.
  • Additional coverage of key topics such as environmentalism, feminism, poverty, identity, and critical theory.